How Gaming Saved Our Marriage
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Well, our marriage wasn't really in trouble but we both, my wife and I, had fallen into our own routines over the past 8 years that,

Every night, after dinner and putting the kids to bed, she would head off to "her" room (the living room) to watch her DVR and I'd head back to "dads" room (the family room to either watch my DVR, play 360, or play guitar. She had little interest in the programming on my DVR and I had little interest in her programs. Occasionally, we would spend time together playing some games on Xbox Live Arcade but most of my 360 time was spent playing First Person Shooters such as Call of Duty.

So, in essence, even though we lived in the same house, we didn't share much "couple" time together. We were the two ships that passed in the night.....until....

....we found a shared love in board gaming. I'm not talking about the stuff we grew up on, I'm talking about those strange German and Euro games I had started reading about on the various Internet forums I was visiting. I started asking around for game suggestions and of course found The Geek early on.

As our collection has grown, so has our marriage. Now we play a game (or two or three) almost every night after we put the kids to bed. The televisions stay off, the 360 gathers dust, we turn on some music, grab a beverage, and spend 3 hours or so laughing, strategizing, teasing, and growing stronger as a couple.

The following list is a snapshot of our journey to a healthy and loving marriage. Each game will be rated in the following manner for Her and Him:

kiss = Love It!
= Like It
Neutral
= Don't Like It
yuk = Hate It!
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1. Board Game: Ticket to Ride [Average Rating:7.51 Overall Rank:80]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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This was the game that started it all. It came highly recommended. The person that convinced me to buy it admitted that it sounds really boring when described but that it really is a fun game.

We bought it, learned it, and loved it. We spent many a summer night on our patio, music playing, drinks flowing (kids sleeping ), destinations being completed. We've also used TtR to introduce a few of our friends to this type of gaming. We still bring it out on occasion and now also have our 6 year old daughter playing it. It appears to converting from a couples game into a family game. Money well spent.

Him:

Her:
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2. Board Game: Catan Card Game [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:518]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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After playing TtR endlessly for months, we decided to mix things up. I really wanted to try a Catan game but read that the board game was only for 3 or more players. Since we play 2 player 95% of the time, I decided to go with the card game.

The first game we played took forever and there was more thinking and less socializing. This early in our gaming career, the game was actually a turn off. We have it 3 or 4 tries and it never really grabbed us.

This game is up for trade.

Him:

Her: yuk
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3. Board Game: Lost Cities [Average Rating:7.12 Overall Rank:258]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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In search or a lighter and more social game, we found Lost Cities. My wife loved it right off the bat and I liked it but found it a little to "light". Over time, my wife still likes to play it occasionally and I wouldn't care if I ever played it again.

Him:

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4. Board Game: Carcassonne [Average Rating:7.44 Overall Rank:108] [Average Rating:7.44 Unranked]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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This was another one that that came highly recommended for new gamers. My wife found a travel version on clearance for $5 and we played it all the time. Our first experience with the word "meeple"!

Him: kiss

Her:
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5. Board Game: Carcassonne: The Castle [Average Rating:7.08 Overall Rank:362]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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We figured that since we mainly play 2 player games and we really enjoy Carcassonne, The Castle was a no-brain-er. We had fun with this one but were a little turned off by the restrictiveness of the wall. We prefer the free-flowing feel of the base game.

Him:

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6. Board Game: Caylus [Average Rating:7.91 Overall Rank:19]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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At this point in our gaming life, we were ready to step it up a level. Enter Caylus. I went to a game store in the suburbs of Chicago called Games Plus and was blown away by the selection. I've read about most of the games they offered but this was really the first time I could see them and touch them. There is something special about browsing around a FLGS for an hour or so just checking out the games and talking to others that share the same hobby.

My choice this day was between Caylus and Puerto Rico. I had heard that Caylus was a better 2 player game so that is what I bought. I excitedly punch and organized all the bits, read the instructions, read them again, and sat down with my wife to play. A few hours later we both felt like we had a bad hang-over. Our heads where throbbing and we walked around like zombies for a few hours.

To put it simply...Too much, too soon!

We've since played it 3 or 4 more times but had to spend so much time in the rule book and less time just enjoying the game. This was our first "heavy" game and probably our last...for a while. I wanted to love it as I really wanted a heavy game in our collection but it just didn't work for us. Plus the dude on the cover of the box really freaked us out! Caylus has been traded.

Him: yuk

Her yuk
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7. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Märklin [Average Rating:7.43 Overall Rank:153]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Back to our comfort zone. With our heads still spinning from the Caylus experience, I thought that Marklin would expand and deepen a game that we already love. We both like the the game but it just seemed to be an exercise in grabbing and completing as many destinations as possible. We actually preferred to more slow and steady pace of the original TtR, longer and more valuable destinations as opposed to shorter less valuable destinations.

This game is up for trade.

Him:

Her:


Edit to remove comment about tunnels as they don't exist in this game.
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8. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: Switzerland [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.51 Unranked]
 
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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This was a Christmas gift from my wife. It's not like we really needed another TtR game but she saw it in a game store and thought it looked interesting. We really like this version of TtR for our 2 player games. A lot more player interaction than we were use to and we enjoy the addition of the stations.

Him:

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9. Board Game: Blokus [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:353]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Another Christmas gift that year. My wife is really attracted to abstract games so she gave this to us as a "family" gift. I really didn't care for the two or three player game play. My wife still likes it and my daughter likes to play occasionally as well.

After Blokus we entered a non-gaming period in our lives. We became bored with the games we owned and slowly went back to our old routines. I started playing more 360 and she started getting into more new shows on the television.

Him:

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10. Board Game: Balloon Cup [Average Rating:6.73 Overall Rank:639]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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After an almost two year dry spell, I received Balloon Cup this past Christmas from my sister. It had been on my Amazon Wishlist for 2 years and I completely forgot about it. We both really enjoy this game, the cards and the resources. It's not the best game in the world but it did bring us back to the game table.

Him:

Her:

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11. Board Game: Ticket to Ride: USA 1910 [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked] [Average Rating:8.01 Unranked]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Right after Christmas I made the decision to build and grow our game library. My priorities were build off what we already owned and then add and diversify the library. This is when I really started using the Geek to develop my wish/want list.

Fist up, I chose the 1910 expansion, mainly for the larger train cards. We also like the new rules and destinations. If we play the original TtR now, we only play with this expansion.

Him:

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12. Board Game: Carcassonne: Inns & Cathedrals [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked] [Average Rating:7.60 Unranked]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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The other game we want to build off of was Carcassonne. I had read that Inns & Cathedrals and Traders & Builders were consider must-haves. I bought both. We've only played with I&C and we love the extra addition of no points for unfinished castles and roads. It really has added to the game and we only play the game with this expansion now. We plan to add in T&B on our next play.

Him: kiss

Her: kiss
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13. Board Game: Mr. Jack [Average Rating:7.13 Overall Rank:278]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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The next phase for my collection was addition and diversification. This is when my gaming addiction really kicked in full force. The rest of the games in this list were purchased in the past month and a half. I did tons of research on the Geek and found a great new FLGS in Chicago, Cat and Mouse. Sure I could get my games cheaper online, but I really like to support local business and also love the opportunity to touch, feel and play the game prior to purchase. Cat and Mouse has almost every game I'm interested available as in-store demo. :up:

I had high hope for Mr. Jack. I wanted to add a deduction game to our collection. I like it but my wife is not that impressed with it. With more time, I'm sure we'd both appreciate it more but I've now bombarded my wife with so many new games I don't see Mr. Jack hitting the table any time soon.

Him:

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14. Board Game: Pandemic [Average Rating:7.67 Overall Rank:43]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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The next category to fill in our collection was that of a cooperative game. Pandemic fills that spot perfectly. I was an instant hit with both of us though I think after 10-15 plays my wife probably likes it more than I do. I'm getting to the point of "been there, done that". I still like the game but with many more options in my collection, this is not my first choice.

We find that 5 epedemics provides us with enough wins and losses to keep us coming back for more. This is definetly a game that we will use to introduce our friends to new gaming.

Him:

Her: kiss
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15. Board Game: Zooloretto [Average Rating:6.90 Overall Rank:419] [Average Rating:6.90 Unranked]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Next category to fill was a light/medium weight game that the two of us could play but also that my 6 year old daughter could enjoy.

Zooloretto was a hit. We love the theme and the artwork. We have to help our daughter a bit with the strategy but it's a great family game that will only get better as the kids grow. My wife does think the game is a little quick when we only play two player.

Him:

Her:

Daughter: kiss
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16. Board Game: Agricola [Average Rating:8.13 Overall Rank:6]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Finally!!! I was a little afraid to invest in another heavy game after our Caylus experience but I just knew I needed one in my collection. We wanted more from gaming and I hoped that Agricola would scratch that itch. It does and more. We've played 3 times once with cards and twice without. We really enjoy it. There is such an enjoyable level of pressure and anxiety. It seems that after the first stage, the harvest is always the next round. We do wish the game lasted longer, we never get to finish what we want but I guess that's also what makes the game so great. At this point in this Geeklist, Agricola is our #1 game.

We also just bought some animeeples!

Him: kiss

Her: kiss
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17. Board Game: Dominion [Average Rating:7.79 Overall Rank:29] [Average Rating:7.79 Unranked]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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I next wanted to add a card collection game of some sort to our collection. After a lot of research it came down to Race for the Galaxy or Dominion. I chose Dominion due to the them and accessibility.

We "got" this game right away. Play was quick and very enjoyable. This is going to be a favorite for a long time. My stated that this is her new favorite game (after proclaiming the same thing about Agricola the night before). We love it!

Him: kiss

Her: kiss
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18. Board Game: Glory to Rome [Average Rating:7.53 Overall Rank:85]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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I grabbed Glory to Rome the same day I bought Dominion. The rules were a little difficult to get through but after a few readings and watching an online video we gave it a shot. We played the beginner game without using the structure special powers. I can see this game really growing on me and see quite a bit of depth in this little package. Unfortunately, my wife didn't really care for it at all. I suspect some of her dislike came from my inability to explain it quickly or thoroughly. And like others, I can't stand the packaging.

Him:

Her:
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19. Board Game: Ingenious [Average Rating:7.23 Overall Rank:210]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Next, I wanted to add another abstract to our collection. My wife likes this type of game and I really didn't care for Blokus, so we needed to fill this hole.

We love this game. It's quick, the scoring is great, and our daughter can compete with us.

Him: kiss

Her: kiss

Daughter: kiss
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20. Board Game: Aquaretto [Average Rating:7.07 Overall Rank:526] [Average Rating:7.07 Unranked]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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We went back to our FLGS yesterday so the kids could spend some birthday money and so that I could pick up Stone Age. They had just sold the last copy of Stone Age, so I was bummed.

Of course, I couldn't return home without a game. It came down to Aquaretto or Thebes. We both really loved the Thebes demo we had and the components really nice. In the end, my wife voted to put Thebes back on the wishlist and get Aquaretto. She figures it can be added to Zooloretto to make a fun game, more fun and and length to it (as she felt Zoo was too short). Also, it's another game that our daughter can play with us.

We are going to play it tonight so I will return with our ratings.
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21. Board Game: Stone Age [Average Rating:7.65 Overall Rank:48]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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The owner of the FLGS, who had come to know our family by now, recognized how bummed out I was that Stone Age was out of stock. She went into her back room and brought out her demo version and said, take this home for a week. Wow, what a great gesture. We were already impressed with this store but she just kicked it up a notch!

We played a game last night and absolutely fell in love with it. We don't get that same rushed feeling we get from Agricola. It's heavy enough for us, done in about 45 minutes, and it's going to be easily accessible to our non-gaming friends when they come over for game night. We just love everything about this game. Agricola is deeper but this game has great depth yet you can still socialize and have a good time. My wife stated that this is by far her favorite game (see a pattern here?)! She even said, just mail her a check and tell her we want to keep the demo.

Him: kiss

Her: kiss
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22. Board Game: Wasabi! [Average Rating:6.58 Overall Rank:848]
Joshua Githens
United States
Piedmont
South Carolina
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Check this game out. I can't say enough good things about it. I would be surprised if you or your wife were disappointed.
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23. Board Game: For Sale [Average Rating:7.22 Overall Rank:215]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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We received this via a trade for Glory to Rome. Of course, GtR is a much deeper game but, in reality, this game will get played more often. We already had a friend coming over for a game night and For Sale arrived on the same day. A perfect opportunity to try this game out. We used it as a warm up. Right out of the box, this game was easy to learn and a lot of fun. I can see why it would be more fun with a larger group. We played with the round up to the bank and we did run short of money toward the end of the game. Our biggest mistake was that we didn't remove the instructed amount of cards for a 3 player game. If we would have done that then I'm sure money wouldn't have been an issue.

Him:

Her:
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24. Board Game: Puerto Rico [Average Rating:8.15 Overall Rank:5]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Over the past few weeks, we've received a few games via trades and I thought I'd add to our list.

First up was Puerto Rico. When I accepted this trade (for TtR Marklin, I believe), I figured I'd just end up trading it seems to have good trade value. I also found the 2 player reviews to be mixed, some loved it, more just "liked", it, and others hated it.

We played the official 2 player variant and fell in love with this game. Very easy to learn, different than any other game in our library, and more laid back than Agricola. We still think Agricola is better but we can tell that we will play Puerto Rico often. I can't wait to try a 3 player game.

Her: kiss

Him: kiss
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25. Board Game: Animal Upon Animal [Average Rating:6.91 Overall Rank:575]
montag 66
United States
Michigan
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Next up was Animal Upon Animal. I bought this game for "the kids" knowing full well that my wife and would enjoy. Not only do we enjoy it, we love it. It's a fun game with play with the kids (ages 4 and 6) but it's also a game that we will pull out when they are in bed.

We've come to find that there are really two games in the box. The base game is really a competition to get rid of all your pieces while making it difficult for your opponent to do the same. Playing this way, not only do you try to successfully place your piece but you also want to place it in such a manner that it makes it difficult for your opponents next placement.

The second way to play (our preferred method) is a cooperative game. We both take two of each animal work together to try to get rid of all our pieces. We still use the dice but when placing, we try to build a good solid foundation so that we can get higher and higher. We also offer each other suggestions on best placement positions.

We have found that we get a lot of enjoyment playing in this cooperative manner. We had a game the other night were we each had three pieces left (out of 14 each) and we had yet to roll the Alligator so our foundation was just on the starting base! Finally we rolled two Alligators in a row to expand the base and provide us with an easy win. What does my wife do with her last placement??? She takes her penguin, and instead of an easy placement on either end of the alligator, she attempts to put him on the very top of the tower. Guess the outcome.

I'll try to remember to upload the photo I took of the tower just before collapse.

Anyhow, this game is a great buy for $20. It can be a kid game, a family game, am adult game, a cut-throat game, or a co-op game. All in one box!

Her: kiss

Him: kiss
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